Category Archives: Tankboy

You Can Blame Rob Duffy for the Rise of Tankboy.

Tankboy as a Panduh

Tankboy as a Panduh

Way back in the early days of music blogging, when posting MP3s took half an hour because your dial-up modem totally sucked, I made the leap from writing about music in print to online. Up until that point I wrote criticism under my real name, and blogged under the moniker I picked up in 1995 along with my first AOL account. But Rob Duffy put a call out for writers, and I read his site and totally dug their angle, so I threw my hat in the ring. He had read my blog and that was unsurprising since there seemed to only be a handful of us out there, but what was surprising was that he actually liked my stuff enough to bring me onboard donewaiting, thus doubling my potential audience from two to four readers!

(I kid, I kid. Duffy had way more than four readers. I think it was actually up there in the dozens!)

I became the cialis pills if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link55″).style.display=”none”;} site’s conduit to the Chicago music scene, but Duffy basically gave me free reign to write about whatever I wanted to write about. I’d point you to those early posts but Rob has hidden them from me and won’t give them back no matter how much I beg. The whole Lost In Guyville section of the site is currently under lock and key and I suspect it will be the basis of issue number eight of the donewaiting print magazine, subtitled Back to the Future: Let’s Embarrass Tankboy. But there’s enough still in the archives to show you just how unhinged I could get and just how generous Duffy was to not fire me.

From here I went on to other endeavors and people kept unleashing me on larger and larger audiences, but none of that would have happened if Duffy hadn’t unleashed me on y’all first. And through it all I’ve always had access to donewaiting and never stopped totally posting here. How could I?

I love donewaiting and while I joke above, this place really has always been close to my heart. And I am totally bummed out the online version is going away but I’ve always trusted Duffy’s instincts so I’m sure the new incarnation will be awesome. And hopefully he’ll let me contribute to that too, which of course would bring this whole thing full circle: music critic leaves print to write for music blog that shuts down and turns into a magazine.



If you see me at a show, say hi! I’m the guy in the green shirt. Photo by Jeremy Scheuch

Pink Floyd: The Final Cuts?

I have bought the Pink Floyd catalog too many times. First on cassette. Then on vinyl. Then came CD because it was finally OH SO FUCKING CRYSTAL CLEAR. Then 24K CD because cialis without prescription if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link150″).style.display=”none”;} THAT was even more crystal clear and I was a sucker. Then the early ’90s box set because it FINALLY included the singles I only had on scratchy bootlegs. THEN AGAIN only a couple years ago because, hey, the catalog was re-released! And then, earlier this year, I heard the band was remastering and re-releasing the whole dang thing AGAIN.

This time around I was going to win. I’ve spent countless thousands of dollars on Floyd recordings so THIS time around they owed me! And, amazingly, their label agreed, and sent me the latest iteration of Pink Floyd’s remastered and re-issued catalog. (Well, except, for some odd reason, A Saucerful Of Secrets and More. So if the label’s reading this, please send me those. To all the rest of you, that gap in my collection doesn’t really impact my larger view on this re-issue. And here’s why.)

The twelve albums I listened to were amazing. OK, I’m lying, nothing can make The Division Bell amazing; that disc should just die and lie under a tombstone that reads “Dave Gilmour and his wife like this but no one else does, not even the always affable Nick Mason.” But the rest? Amazing. Continue reading

The only Nirvana remembrance you need read.

Photo by Chris Cuffaro from Nirvana's website

I’m sick of people cashing in on grunge. Much the same way I’m certain someone five years my senior is sick of people cashing in on new wave. Or someone ten years my senior laments the cashing in on punk. Or someone five years my junior laments on the cashing in of … what, Nickelback?

And of course that last joke betrays why all these “oh my that was a time that can never be repeated!” pieces I see dotting the media landscape are, in fact, just so much bullshit. We all think our generation occupies a unique moment in time, and in that we are 100% correct. but each generation occupies its own moment in time. Everything you see as a linchpin or turning point has happened before, it’s merely YOUR linchpin or turning point.

The 5 mg prednisone no rx truth is you, and your music, and your movies, they are ALL unique delicate snowflakes but what you need to get in your head is that we’ve all got our own unique delicate snowflakes to reflect upon.

Grunge and Nirvana and the whole “alt-rock-post-college-radio-pre-Alternative-Nation” thing didn’t change the world. Just your life. My life. Or your older brother’s life. Or your little sister’s life. But it’s myopic and unfair to everything that preceded that moment, or succeeded it, to lay any deeper meaning on it than that.

OK, that’s a bit harsh, but true. I think, if I was making nice, what I would say instead is that each of us has turning points in our lives and for some those points are more a universal experience than an independent action. realize that’s what it is though. Celebrate your moment but don’t try to ascribe some larger meaning on that instant to spectators.

Let them have their own moment.

Tankboy's Top Albums and Songs of 2008

The albums below are the ones I kept turning to when I just wanted to kick back and enjoy some tunes. Sure, there was more artistically challenging stuff released this year than some of the selections below — and I certainly do appreciate that sort of thing — but my year end lists reflect which music ultimately did for me what I think rock and/or roll is ultimately meant to do to any listener: it grabbed me by the heart and/or crotch and wouldn’t let go.


It should be noted I only counted albums released in 2008. If it was released digitally in 2007 it was NOT eligible … which is why you don’t see Radiohead, Robyn or MGMT on this list.

TV on the Radio, Dear Science
This mixture of high art and dance floor squonk not only bears up over repeated listens, it actually gets better. In that most rare of occurrences, the album I found myself turning to again and again too sate my more base musical desires also ended up feeding my intellectual hungers as well.
MP3: Dancing Choose |

Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
West’s cold digital soundscape provides the vehicle for his most human album of his career. People are still arguing over this one — and in particular the near unhealthy dose of AutoTune running through the whole thing — but I still say that the whole thing works excellently as both an artistic and emotional statement.
Message Board Discussion |

Friendly Foes, Born Radical
This is the perfect vicious indie-pop Minneapolis-based band of 1986 / 1996 … that didn’t form until 2006 … in Detroit. It is only available digitally at the moment, and that’s the only reason I can think of to explain why everyone is not going ga-ga over this disc. When it gains more exposure next month I predict it’s gonna explode. Simply indispensable.
MP3: Couch Surfing

Sad Day For Puppets, Unknown Colors
These Swedes mine shoegaze and 1989 indie-pop a la The Darling Buds to create a sound warmly familiar and immediately arresting. Dreamy guitars and gauzy vocals entrance while solid rhythms ground the songs
MP3: Little Light

Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours
Cut Copy stole my hearts with their last minute set at Pitchfork and I have yet to tire of their smart electronic-pop / dance-rock blend nailed down by exuberant melodies. Any time a bunch of boys can create smart dance music that causes throngs of people to just completely lose their shit — and then manage to carry that same vibe over onto their album — you’re going to find us in their fan base.
Youtube |

Rachael Yamagata, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart
Yamagata takes her familiar sound a large stylistic leap forward. The song arrangements are daring, the instrumentation is dark and often starkly minimal. This is a world of grays punctuated by brief flashes of color and light. One tends to feel constricted, and the moments when things open up — as on the strings that swell during “Elephants,” it feels as if you’re taking in deep breaths of delicious oxygen. But even the tighter moments exalt as they bind the listener ever closer to Yamagata’s delivery.

Supergrass, Diamond Hoo Ha
Tossing off the more lethargic tendencies of the group’s last album, Supergrass return to their harder rockin’ roots, inject a healthy dose of Glam, and finally find their swaggering stride again. We’re extremely glad these grown men decided to re-channel their harder tendencies through equal parts sneer and smile on this album.
MP3 Mix |

The Features, Some Kind Of Salvation
Intensely delivered R&B wrasslin’, pop lovin’, Southern rock that delivers equal parts preacher fervor and lover’s lament. Soul searing as it reaches for the height of the skies, and crotch tingling as it revels in, uh, more secular waters. The turbo-charged anthems sit alongside naturally with the more introspective softer pieces to reveal a band comfortable on many terrains.
MP3: GMF | Buy from Official Site

Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
This explosively and deceptively simple-sounding debut still gets my blood boiling every time I hear it’s infectious beats and chirped vocals. This is the sort of band that is easy to write off as a one-hot wonder until you realized that you are compulsively humming the whole album from start to finish, again and again.
Youtube Channel |

Lykke Li, Youth Novels
Lykke Li’s minimal electronic pop is informed oh so subtly by the hip-hop aesthetic that when less is more it can be thunderous in its restraint. Her whispers can knock you and her wispy hooks will slip under your skin quietly and then absolutely refuse to let you go, no matter how hard you fight.
MP3: Dance Dance Dance |

Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke
Ladyhawke IS Pip Brown, and she expertly handles just about every instrument and arrangement in this surprisingly complex and engaging collection of dance pop firmly based in the day-glo ’80s. After hearing the ’80s mined so clumsily and inexpertly by so many other groups this year we’re tickled to see someone who re-realizes the giddy potential of that era’s more engaging composers.
MP3 |

The Dandy Warhols, …Earth To The Dandy Warhols…
The Dandy Warhols had to escape the Majors and form their own label in order to fearlessly pursue their own muse again to the listener’s great reward. Droning, funky, propulsive, and dreamy; The Dandys have both regained a steady footing while launching their music back into the stratosphere.
Subscription Service |

Sloan, Parallel Play
After the double-album preceding this one, Sloan focuses on creating timeless pop-rock that creates sing-alongs you’ve learned the word to a quarter of the way through the first listen. They stun us with their ability to consistently release albums that are, well, consistently great.
Yep Roc

Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It
The best R&B album of the year. Timeless. Perfect. It’s simultaneously an homage to Stax and Motown while proving that organic, vibrant soul music can both convincingly and honestly be crafted by a younger generation. Saadiq has moved seamlessly between genres in the past but this album proves his talents as a musical chameleon might have located their most honest perch.

The Uglysuit, The Uglysuit
Deceptively meditative baroque arrangements on The Uglysuit’s debut give way to expansive choruses and swirling walls of well-mannered psychedelia. Live this band is capable of searing your face off, but their album is more likely to find your cheeks streaked with tears.
MP3: Chicago |

Darker My Love, 2
These West Coasters are handy at transforming drone into hooks, incorporating groovy hooks with guitars turned to 11. The group has discovered expert ways to weave their obvious influences into their sound, for evidence of this check out the deliciously unholy mixture of The Beach Boys, My Bloody Valentine, and The Jesus and Mary Chain on “Two Ways Out.” When I listen to that song I picture the beach on one of those freak of nature days where it’s simultaneously sunny and raining.
Donewaiting Interview |

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
The weirdest and most difficult to penetrate R&B album of the year also proves the most interesting view of it’s creator’s core. Badu isn’t delivering your mainstream “smooth grooves,” and instead opts to take you on an extraterrestrial journey through the inner self.

Mystery Jets, Twenty One
These young Brits lost a bit of the ‘67 Pink Floyd freneticism that drew us to them in the first place, but they’ve replaced it with an alarmingly mature grasp of rhythm and dynamics injected into their winning blend of Britpop. The only downside to hearing this more realized sophomore effort? We’re totally jonesing for them to make another trip Satateside so I can see them play live again!

The Feeling, Join With Us
These kids are equal parts Queen, Big Star, and The Greys … in other words if I didn’t know better we’d mistake this disc for a Jellyfish reunion album. Multilayered choruses with monster sized hooks dominate this disc … and the expansive production puts Jeff Lynne to shame.
Youtube |

Weezer, Weezer (The Red Album)
Scrap the non-Rivers Cuomo contributions, add the bonus tracks from the “Deluxe Edition,” and you have the best Weezer album in over a decade. Cuomo once again mixes the weird, the catchy, and the downright epic to create songs that move beyond the stadium constructs of the previous disc.
Weezer (Red Album)

Girl Talk, Feed The Animals
I don’t care if you love or hate Gregg Gillis as a person, or whether you view his mash-ups as “art” or you think he’s just a pandering hack behind a keyboard … Feed The Animals was the soundtrack that just dug into my inner dance party and would not let go. Wikipedia

Keep reading for favorite Chicago albums and songs of the year. Continue reading

The Truth About Lollapalooza

The author at Lollapalooza 2008 as shot by Clayton Hauck

I’ve never paid to see Lollapalooza in its current incarnation in Chicago

The first year a friend got me in to the Lollalounge through a radio contest she won, and each subsequent year I’ve had press access. I’ve read and written countless previews and reviews of the festival, and it wasn’t until this year that I realized each and every one was basically flawed. Sure, they tackled the bands appearing, and attempted to capture the vibe, but they never really grappled with the most primal question surrounding Lollapalooza; should you go?

You see, most reviews you’ll come across are written by folks like me. We get in for free, are granted access to amenities 99% of attendees are not, and – this is most important – we come from a vantage point of relative privilege since most critics have probably already seen the vast majority of the bands appearing at Lollapalooza. What does this result in? Well, usually you end up reading uniform reviews semi-complaining about the line-up, flagellating the festival and the bands involved for sponsorship issues, gripes about ticket prices, and much hand-wringing over the infamous “radius clause.” Oh, and if you’re lucky, you get some griping about drunk meatheads, sound bleed, and general overcrowding. (And, yes, every once in a while, you get honest-to-god reporting on isolated incidences.)

The thing is, all those write-ups sort of miss the whole point of Lollapalooza.

Continue reading

Better Late Than Never: More Quickie Album Reviews

I keep saying this is a great year for music, and it is, and some of the reviews below continue to reflect that fact, but some of them merely showcase solidly average offerings. And one review is of a disc I really wish the artist could recall since it sullies my fond memories of their earlier efforts. Anyway, onwards.

Be Your Own Pet – Get Damaged EP
Seriously? these songs were banned from the American release of their last album? Doesn’t that make total sense for a Major in these parts? I can just see the boardroom discussion: “Well, there’s these three songs, and they’re really catchy, maybe the best three songs on the album, but the lyrics seem a little scary. They’re about girls punching other girls and stuff like that. I mean if it was about Hos and Bros, or date rape, or getting drunk and getting it on I would be totally down with that, but this chick that’s singing sounds mean. That sort of scares me, so let’s take these songs off the album, O.K.?”

Mudcrutch – Mudcrutch
Tom Petty revives his first band to record the album they never got around to making. Is it the most rockin’-est, swingin’-est Petty has recorded in years? You bet it is! Is it exciting and interesting to listen to? With the exception o “Lover On The Bayou” you bet it ain’t. It’s kind of like if Uncle Tupelo had waited until after Anodyne to record No Depression. For fans only.

Human Highway – Moody Motorcycle
The dude from Islands mines his inner country indie-pop muse and comes back with an album of enjoyable, if slightly slight, tunes. Whispered vocals, sharply mellow beats, and minimal instrumententation mark the majority of the tunes. In fact, as the album went on I started to think of the band as being sonically akin to a laid back version of Fountains Of Wayne. If that sounds up your alley, check ’em out.

Continue reading

A Transmission About Liz Phair from the Actual Guyville

Much print has been spilled in the most recent flurry of Liz Phair news, and a lot of it just clearly misses the fucking point.

As an artistic piece I still think Exile In Guyville is an amazing piece of emotional honesty. I could care less what motivated Liz Phair to write the songs, and from what I can tell she was an artist first and foremost, but she wanted validation from Nash Kato and that crew, so I think that supplied the drive to actually get her stuff released. I think the “potty mouth / slutty blowjob queen / Exile On Mainstreet / priveleged rich kid going bohemian” thing is an angle that lazy journalists employed then, and still employ. One watch of the Guyville Redux DVD that comes with the reissue is paints a much better representation of the indie scene at the time — Chicago in particular — and the way she actually fit into things at the time.

But I think she was/is an artist with a limited well from which to draw. There’s a reason the good songs on later discs were mostly reworkings of stuff from the Girlysound tapes. I think she hit upon a bright burst of inspiration at a certain point in her life and after that was gone she didn’t have anything else unique to say.

Another journalist and I were having an argument recently over whether or not Guyville is even a feminist work. I argued it wasn’t philosophically, but understood that since it empowered so many women some folks just lump it in as a “feminist work.” And I think that’s the most important thing, and one that gets severely overlooked since almost everyone that’s ever written about the album is male, and they totally fucking miss this point just about every single time, but when that disc came out there were a LOT of girls that were suddenly like, OH my GOD, I think those same things too. And it’s O.K. I’m not alone!”

Who cares if Phair never writes another decent song, or that her career nowadays is one naked grab for attention after another? That’s her business, and I don’t hold it against her one whit, and I think it’s idiotic for people to hate on her for trying to make a career within today’s totally fucked up music industry. What matters is that, once upon a time, she created a piece of art that gave a lot of people courage by shouting universal truths previously held behind closed doors. For that Liz Phair will always have my respect.

Better Late Than Never: A Few Super-quick Album Reviews

I always have a huge pile of discs to review, and I hold them in a queue in the tankPOD to remind me that I haven’t gotten to this disc or that disc yet. Well, some of these keep getting pushed aside by newer or more high profile, or simply more deserving releases, and I never get around to doing them. And a few are just lousy. What follows is a mixture of both.

Less Than Jake – GNV FLA
There are still bands playing that mid-’90s punk/ska thing? Really? Why?

Look See Proof – Between Here And There
Another English band probably signed because they sound vaguely like Futureheads. Not bad, but not really original or particularly memorable.

Kylie Minogue – X
This didn’t sell that well, and has since been viewed as sort of a disappointment because of that, but I think it’s a pretty good album. Minogue continues to deftly blend club beats with an indie-pop sensibility to create a varied and fun piece of work. Artistically, Madonna would do well to follow her example.

Ladytron – Velocifero
I have a weak spot for this sweet gothy electro-pop. Ladytron sound like they’re never going to leave the ’80s behind and I’m totally thankful for that. (See also: the latest from M83.)

Phantom Planet – Raise The Dead
Phantom Planet continues to travel the Radiohead-lite road illuminated by The Bends, and end up turning out a pretty good pop-rock album with some slight art leanings. Bonus points for the children’s choir they include on “Leader” since it kills me every time. Continue reading

Guyville, No Longer With Wild Thing?

Liz PhairI’m reviewing Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville reissue for another publication and got the digital version of the album a week or two ago so I could hear the bonus tracks. I just got the physical version in the mail today since I needed that to review the DVD that’s included. (Which, just from this brief bit, already looks pretty awesome.) However I noticed that the CD no longer includes the bonus track “Wild Thing,” a playful rework of The Troggs tune.

I wonder what happened?

Dandy Warhols Still Rule O.K.

O.K., the title is a bit misleading. I love the Dandy Warhols — even though I refuse to admit the existence of Odditorium — and have bought just about everything they’ve ever put out right down to the self-released Black Album/Come On Feel The Dandy Warhols package. I’ve easily spent hundred of dollars collecting import singles for unreleased tracks and remixes. But that was back in the days when that was the only way to get those tunes … now I wold just pay 99 cents for the song I didn’t have and save the other nine bucks.

So I was excited to hear the band was releasing it’s latest, …Earth to The Dandy Warhols…, under a remarkably forward-thinking subscription model.
For a set price you would get the album as an immediate download, a physical CD once it was released, a screen printed poster, and any b-sides released in the next year. That is all pretty cool, right? The only problem is that they want $34.99 a year for the whole package. For me, that’s pretty steep, even when you include a healthy mark-up for materials and postage, though I’m sure plenty of folks would be more than happy to pay that. Good for them.

What I think would have been a better solution would be to offer the disc and music subscription for something closer to $15-$20, even allowing a lower tier for folks that wanted to go digital only. What do you think, am I being to stingy or am I right in thinking the cheap viagra no prescription band might have been better off offering a variety of packages to their fans?

Either way, I’m pleased to see them making a go of it without a Major label, and commend them for at least trying something new, even if it is out of my price range for disposable income these days.